Vermont News Guide | Page 17

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Our COMMUNITY

Berkshire Bank ’ s ‘ Xtraordinary Day ’ in Manchester and Beyond
More than 1,000 Berkshire Bank employees rolled up their sleeves on June 13 and helped make the communities where they live and work stronger and more resilient by volunteering at more than 45 local nonprofits across the bank ’ s markets as part of Xtraordinary Day ( X Day ), the bank ’ s annual day of service . Every year , Berkshire closes all of its financial centers and offices at 12pm to host X Day , which supports nonprofits that address hunger , homelessness , and affordable housing and aim to create a more equitable , just and sustainable future .
In all , employees participated in more than 50 X Day projects in Vermont , Massachusetts , New York , Connecticut , and Rhode Island , as well as one in Pennsylvania that was supported by colleagues at Berkshire ’ s nationwide SBA lending division 44 Business Capital . In Vermont , Berkshire participated in projects that benefitted : Black River Good Neighbors in Ludlow ; Dorset Equine Rescue in East Dorset ; Housing Trust of Rutland County in Fair Haven ; Manchester Riverwalk in Manchester Center ; and the Rutland County Humane Society in Pittsford . berkshirebank . com .
Smokey House Center Receives VOREC Grant
The grant , totaling just over $ 92,000 , will be used to develop a community-informed plan to revitalize Smokey House ’ s degraded trail system and design a trail-based citizen science program that brings in community members to actively participate in the land-based research of the Living Lab , Smokey House ’ s new keystone program . The grant will also include planning with a local architect to add a visitors center to their current Farm Stand building .
“ We will be working with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and folks at UVM Extension to develop a program that will allow visitors to help collect important ecology data while out on our trails ,” says Walker Cammack , Program Director .
Smokey House is also collaborating with the Danby Planning Commission , Sinuosity , a Vermont trail building group , and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps ( VYCC ) on the project . Strength Perspectives , a diversity and equity consulting group already working with Smokey House , will also be helping to increase accessibility and make recreational opportunities feel open to more diverse audiences . The group of partners plan to hold a series of public community engagement events to solicit feedback on desired forms of recreation , how to increase accessibility , and how people would like to engage in community science across the property .
This summer Smokey House Center celebrates its 50th anniversary . One opportunity to engage in the planning process will be at Smokey House ’ s Annual Open House happening on July 13 . smokeyhouse . org .

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VERMONT news guide

June 17 , 2024 Vermont News Guide 17